Whangārei Lions Clubs are hosting their annual Young Ambassador awards with seven young community leaders giving a speech tomorrow evening in front of a panel of judges.
Kamo Lions Club are organising this year's event in collaboration with six other clubs from the local zone.
Kamo Lions Club member Judy Taingahue says their finalists were Year 12 to 13 students from five different schools from the wider Whangārei area.
"The nominees are generally high achievers, head boys or girls, presidents of the student council, captain of their sports team and the like," Judy said.
The candidates submit a formal application, including a full resume, which outlines their academic achievements, their involvement in the community and their aspirations.
The finalists are then invited to an interview with three judges which is held the day before the awards night.
This year's judges are Whangārei Deputy Mayor Sharon Morgan, Lions Clubs District Governor for the Upper North Island Judy Allison and chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce Steve Smith.
"At the award night on Thursday, the students will each give a five-minute speech of their personal choice," she said.
"The speeches are often youth relevant topics and truly amazing. In previous years we had students talking about suicide, environmental issues, racism, and what they imagine their future in New Zealand is going to look like."
The programme is aligned with the Lions Clubs promotional focus on youth. The winner will receive a $1000 prize; second place gets $500 and third place $250.
Whangārei Girls' High School alumnus Nicole Robinson took out the Young Ambassador title last year with her speech about the power of the mind.
"[It was about] how 'if we believe we can, we will'. I strongly believe that any problem can already be half-solved by just telling yourself, 'I can do this'," Nicole said.
Nicole saw the Lions Clubs programme as an opportunity to become more involved in the community and "contribute in whatever way [she] could" before she moved away to pursue her goals.
Nicole spent part of her prize money on a trip to Tanzania this year where she conquered Kilimanjaro and raised money for a charity project at a local school. She helped build a toilet block for the school girls there.
The rest went towards her double degree in Renewable Energy Engineering and Earth Science at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.
The awards night will be held at A'Fare restaurant on Thursday night.